President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has stated that there can be no achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) without ensuring the protection of our natural environment. He made this statement earlier today at the High-Level Event on Transformative Action for Nature and People in the margins of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City.
The President stated that we remain dependent on the earth regardless of the changes to the world, calling on world leaders to make strong commitments to address climate change, protect biodiversity and align policies and economic strategies with these commitments.
"Our heating planet is not mincing its words. Let there be no confusion – we are responsible for this, and we must take urgent action to address it." He said. "It is our duty to restore and repair the damage that we have inflicted on our home."
President Solih outlined the policies adopted by the Maldives to build climate resilience and combat biodiversity loss, including the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan and the plan to phase out single-use plastics by 2023. He also said the Maldives is on track to reduce carbon emissions by a quarter by 2030, but this plan can be accelerated to achieve net-zero by 2030 with sufficient international support. He highlighted the efforts to restore biodiversity to our ecosystems in collaboration with the Blue Prosperity Coalition by formulating a marine spatial plan, which will allow for more planned and sustainable use of common natural resources.
"We must protect our environment and biodiversity, for if we do not, our very lives are at stake." The President said in concluding his statement.
The Transformative Action for Nature and People high-level event was a platform for government partners and leaders to present policies and action plans to protect, conserve, sustainably use and restore the loss of biodiversity, address climate change and reduce marine pollution. The initiative goes out from a cross-regional group of countries and partners from around the world.
The Maldives has three atolls declared as UNESCO biosphere reserves and is designating one island, one coral reef and one mangrove in each atoll as a protected area. The Maldives is also the co-founder and co-chair of the Group of Friends to Combat Marine Plastics Pollution at the UN and the Global Ocean Alliance, committing to protect 30 per cent of the world's oceans in the coming years.